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Was It The Storm Or A Construction Defect?

In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew and a particularly destructive hurricane season, many Florida homeowners are searching for ways to rebuild. For many, that means turning to their homeowners insurance policy. But what happens when the insurance company rejects the claim on the basis that the damage to the home was not the result of the storm, but the result of a construction defect in the home?

The Concurrent Cause Doctrine

According to an article from SaintPetersBlog, that was the exact issue addressed in a recent decision by the Florida Supreme Court. In the case of Sebo v. American Home Assurance Co., the court clarified and upheld the use of the concurrent cause doctrine.

The concurrent cause doctrine states that if multiple issues worked together to cause a loss, and at least one of those issues is covered by an insurance policy, even if it was not the primary issue, then the loss should be covered.

In other words, even if a construction defect played a role in the damage to a home and that is not covered under an insurance policy, the storm is covered and that also played a role, so the entire event should be covered by homeowners insurance.

But What If It Was Just A Construction Defect?

The concurrent cause doctrine only applies in situations like these if it can be proven that the storm was a cause of the damage. In hurricane situations, that may not be a problem, but what if there is water intrusion following an average storm or rainfall? What if a construction defect is the only cause of the damage to the home?

While construction defects may not be covered by a homeowners insurance policy, that does not mean the homeowner does not have recourse. With the help of an experienced attorney, the homeowner can take action against the construction company or contractor responsible for the defect and seek repairs or compensation. 

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